Amanda – May 4th & 5th
We had stayed overnight in Philadelphia on Tuesday night so we could be up and ready for our flight in the morning.
Talk about a stress-free flight. There were no lines at all for checking in or security screening in Philadelphia, and our gate was the first one just past the screening area. Flights were on time, uneventful, and even arrived at our destinations earlier than planned.
The first leg of the flight was from Philadelphia to Detroit. In Detroit we joined up with several other adopting families, identified by their light blue America World Adoption t-shirts. About half of the families have other children.
Our flight from Detroit to Tokyo was also rather uneventful. Wayne and I had plenty of legroom, sitting right in front of the TV screen in the center seats. The plane for Northwest Airline was a 747, with 3 seats along each side and 4 seats in the center. We watched all three movies, read a little, snoozed a little, and ate decent meals and snacks. We were intrigued that during our entire 12-hour flight it was light outside the plane. It wasn’t until we were on the flight from Tokyo to Beijing that it became dark.
When we flew into Tokyo, we didn’t see any of the city. We were there for 2 hours in the airport, but didn’t see much besides foreign signs and foreign TV, and lots of Asians.
Wayne turned 49 yrs old on the flight. He received his first birthday present after we arrived in China, when the tour guide for America World gave him a gift of a book of postcards.
We arrived in Bejing about 9:30 pm. We had been required to fill out cards on our flight, giving our names and destinations, contact information while in China, and we had to answer several questions about health and whether we were carrying parts of plants or animals. We handed in those cards after we got off the plane, at two different checkpoints. Then we headed for our luggage (no lost luggage for anyone in our group). We headed for the “customs” sign, expecting to have our luggage searched. Would they have a problem with the amount of medicines or electronics we were carrying? But there was no true checkpoint after we got our luggage, and we rolled our suitcases out to join the waiting tour guides for America World. We figured that one of the checkpoints where we handed in our card had been the customs checkpoint.
We were greeted by Rosa, one of two guides for our trip. The other is Maggie, who we met later at the hotel. We arrived at the hotel about 10:30 after nearly ½ hour of travel in the bus. We’re staying at the Guanzhou (pronounced guan-jo) hotel in Beijing. We all parted ways and headed for our hotel rooms, having been up for more than 24 hours. The time here is 12 hours ahead of home, so we arrived Thursday night, having left Wednesday morning, 24 hours earlier. The entire trip was about 22 hours.
The hotel has a 5-star rating (highest rating). There are two beds which are a little bigger than single beds, a fridge, a hot pot for boiling water (the water is not safe to drink in China). There was a flower arrangement waiting for us, from America World. There is also a safe, in which we could put the large amount of cash we’re carrying, our laptop, the passports, and our important adoption papers.